5. Survey on feed utilization for cattle production in Takeo province
Keo Sath, Khieu Borin and T R Preston*
*UTA (Colombia), AA #48, Socorro, Santander, Colombia
Abstract: A survey was conducted in three villages of Treang district Takeo province. The Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) method was applied for collection of data on cattle production, and availability of feed resources by season. Twenty-five farmers both men and women participated in the study. Among the twenty-five families, fifteen households that kept cattle were interviewed to obtain information related to cattle production such as breeds, marketing flow, and management techniques.
The cattle in the area were mainly Bos indicus, among these about 68 % were crossbred with Haryana and 31.8% were of the local "Yellow" breed. Cattle production was primarily for draft power with meat production and manure as fertilizer for crops a secondary consideration. The draft power served for soil preparation for growing rice which is the common practice through out the area. The numbers of cattle per households were: 3-5 heads (73.9%), more than 5 heads (8.7%) and 1-2 heads (17.4 %). The calving rate was 66%.
Food and Mouth Disease and Haemorrhagic Septicaemia appeared to be an occasional problem in this area. During the cropping season, the cattle are tethered at homestead or in small plots of land nearby the house and supplemented with rice straw or cut and carry grasses. Feed resources for cattle are natural grasses, rice straw and shrubs, which are collected from the rice field. The fruits and leaves of the sugar palm, and rain tree, bamboo, manila tamarind and cassava products are used when grass or by-products are not sufficient. No technologies to improve feed quality had been introduced. There had been no introduction of new forage species. All the farmers followed the traditional management system. Low quality and shortage of feed appeared to be the major constrains for cattle keeping during the period February to April.
It is concluded that cattle production in the study area is directly associated with rice cultivation and this relationship is important for optimizing profit. Feed utilization depends on what is grown by the farmer and may be the main factor limiting how many cattle kept in each household. There is a need to focus on ways to improve the nutritive value of feed resources and on introducing forage trees with high nutritive value and biomass yield.